Seriously Smoky Beef Ribs

This two-step recipe is a beefy alternative to spare ribs for your summer BBQ.
Staff Writer
Seriously Smoky Beef Ribs

Robert Rabine

Beef Ribs

Whenever I see beef rib racks at the local market during the summer I’m tempted to buy, buy, buy. However, I have to limit myself to making these once a month during the summer, not once a week. These meaty ribs get two hours of heavy smoke on the grill followed by three hours in a slow oven. I usually combine the smoking portion of this recipe with some gardening so I can easily monitor the smoke level of the grill and baste the ribs frequently with sop sauce to keep them moist. It’s a little tedious, but well worth the trouble. I have a hickory tree in my yard, so I gather up fallen branches and save them for the smoking process. You should use bagged hardwood chips, they are available almost everywhere. 

This recipe takes a little time and attention but it’s not difficult and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make real Texas barbecue at home. After you smoke the ribs, you can forget about them in the oven for three hours. I recommend using Stubs Barbecue Sauce. Serve them up with grilled corn, beans, slaw and slices of white bread. My Southwest Potato Salad Recipe also makes a great side dish.

For the ribs:

  • 4- ½ beef rib racks or two whole racks
  • 4 tablespoons dry rub (recipe to follow)
  • 1 bag hardwood chips
  • 1 cup sop sauce (recipe to follow)
  • 1 ½ cups Stubs Barbecue Sauce


Soak the hardwood chips in a bucket of water for a couple of hours. Pre-heat your grill to low. You will be cooking with indirect heat. If you are using a gas grill light one side of the grill and remove the grate over the hot side. Make a drip pan using aluminum foil and place it under the grill rack on the cool side of the grill to catch the fat from the ribs as they cook. If you are using a Weber you will make two small piles of coals on opposite sides of the kettle making sure the coals line up under the hinged parts of the grill rack and light the piles. Make a large drip pan with aluminum foil and place it between the piles of coals to catch the fat from the ribs as they cook.

Rinse the rib racks and pat them dry with paper towels. Remove the membrane on the back of the rib racks. Flip them so the bone side is up. With a boning knife separate the translucent membrane from the meat on one corner of the rib rack. Grab hold of the membrane with a dry paper towel and continue to pull until the entire membrane is removed. Discard. Rub each of the rib racks on both sides with a dry rub consisting of paprika, garlic salt, black pepper, chili powder and ground cumin and a little sugar. Set them aside and make the sop sauce.


For the sop sauce:

  • 6 oz beer
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Place all the ingredients in a small stainless bowl and whisk to combine.


When the coals are ready, take the ribs and sop sauce to the grill. Add a couple hand-fulls of wood chips directly to the hot coals and place the rib racks on the grill directly over the drip pans on the cool parts of the grill where they will cook with indirect heat. Cover tightly and smoke for two hours, replenishing the wood chips as needed every few minutes to keep up a heavy smoke. Slather on the sop sauce frequently to keep them moist.

Pre-heat your oven to 225 degrees.  After two hours of smoke, remove the rib racks from the grill and put them on sheet pans.  Bring them into the kitchen and cover them tightly with aluminum foil. Cook in the oven for three hours, after which remove them from the oven and turn it off. Uncover the rib racks and pour off the grease. Slather the ribs with barbecue sauce and return them to the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove the racks and cut them into individual ribs. Plate them with corn, beans, slaw and white bread and lots of paper towels.

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